Forex traders share the act

 

 

“There is nothing I cannot afford. I can afford anything … this is the best lifestyle-dream I could ever think of,” boasts Kgopotso Mmutlane — or DJ Coach Tsekeleke as he is better known — on his reality show FBK Millionaires.

“I am a proud millionaire, but you cannot see it until I tell you,” the foreign exchange (forex) trader is quick to point out, however.

The show, which aired on YouTube before getting a platform on DStv’s Moja Love channel, features the lives of a group of seven forex traders who call themselves the Forex Broker Killers (FBK).

Members of FBK, the brainchild of Mmutlane, are more than happy to share their envy-inducing lifestyles — complete with fancy cars, luxury homes and stacks of cash.

Viewers can live the high life vicariously as they watch the seven young men show off their girlfriends, parties and flashy rides — cars such as an Audi S3, VW Golf GTi and Mercedes-Benz AMG which carry price tags ranging from R600 000 to R1-million.

The show, which is currently suspended because of “technical issues” after airing just four episodes, does beg the question: just how does FBK make money?

Mmutlane says the group has accrued its wealth through trading in foreign currencies. He says they operate as a legal entity under Mmutlane Traders, which offers trading “strategies” through FBK Online Services.

When the Mail & Guardian asked the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) if Mmutlane Traders and FBK Online Services are registered, a spokesperson said: “No, there is currently no record of the entities mentioned as authorised financial service providers (FSPs) nor a representative of an authorised FSP.”

Any entity or individual rendering financial advice and intermediary services as contemplated and defined in the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002 — which regulates and provides a code of conduct for FSPs and their customers — has to receive authorisation from the FSCA.

Once authorisation is granted, the body, which governs market conduct, issues a licence under the Act.

When asked if he is registered, Mmutlane said people who need to register are those who are offering financial advice or investing people’s money and he does not do that.

“Remember, what I do. I do not teach people how to trade. If you come to me and you want to learn, I will point you at the material you can use,” he said.

Mmutlane says, what they offer are strategies, and it [Mmutlane Traders] is not a financial institution.

“What I offer is the strategies which I founded,” he adds.

Its website, fbkonlineservices.com, says the group does not offer investments, account management and physical classes. Punters who go to their website to try and turn their fortunes around will find a free PDF that offers general knowledge about forex trading.

Those who want more than just general information, can purchase Mmutlane’s strategies, which comprise a PDF and videos and can sell for as much as R21 000.

“You pay for the strategy, do your own research and look for a broker — who is the middleman and will let you meet the market,” said Bethuel Mofetekoa, a member and manager at FBK.

FBK recommends MetaTrader 4 as its preferred platform.

Investopedia, a website focusing on investing and finance education, says traders have to go through an intermediary such as a forex broker to execute trades.

Mofetekoa says after a trader has established which broker they want to use, they can then choose the currency they want to trade in, after which they choose the amount they want to put in and start trading.

Asked by the M&G if he participates in scamming, Mmutlane said “obviously no”, adding that he only provides guidelines to those who need them and does not trade on behalf of anyone.

The M&G asked the FSCA if the packages and strategies the FBK provide are legal.

It responded by saying that the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act required authorisation. To conduct unregistered business would therefore “contravene South African financial sector laws”.

The FSCA says anybody may trade in “foreign currency for themselves as long as they have the relevant skill and knowledge”.

As long as a person does not provide financial advice they can independently trade using licenced platforms such as Standard Bank’s Webtrader, Sanlam iTrade or PSG online.

FBK’s website states it is monitored by Sihle Investment Consulting, but provides no details who this might be and how it can be contacted.

A Google search shows that the company is based in Soshanguve, Pretoria, and specialises in financial planning, accounting and taxation services for personal and business needs.

The M&G contacted Sihle’s founder and chief executive, Sanele Msibi, who said he has been working with FBK for two weeks and his job is to make sure the group comply with the law when dealing with customers and money-related matters.

He said that so far he has found loopholes when it comes to disclosures (what they tell the client before they actually sign), which can “come back to bite them”.

Mbisi said the way in which FBK offers its one-minute strategy is not fully compliant with the law.

“That is also one other thing [where] we need to make a clear distinction,” he said.

He said FBK does not fully comply as it still needs to indicate that what it offers is “just a forecast on what the market is going to do and people should consult their financial adviser before acting on such information [which is] not intended to be used as financial advice”.

The M&G has been informed FBK Millionaires is likely to be back on air at the end of October — perhaps it will be fully compliant by then.

Tshegofatso Mathe is an Adamela Trust business reporter at the Mail & Guardian

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Tshegofatso Mathe
Tshegofatso Mathe is a financial trainee journalist at the Mail & Guardian
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